July 23 – It is believed that the Summer Olympic Games in Tokyo will open. A lavish performance usually nurtures patriotic sentiment in the host country.
But no Olympic frenzy is out of reach in Japan. Polls show a majority of the population is skeptical that the games will take place in the middle of the pandemic.
And now the infection is increasingly spreading in Japan The fastest pace since January.
This week, major cities in Tokyo and Osaka, also two regions, announced that they would require government permission to declare a state of emergency to control the virus. Two other regions, Hyogo and Kyoto, are planning to file an emergency request. Together, the four regions cover a quarter of the population.
“The number of infections is increasing in the capital and there is a need for swift action,” Tokyo Mayor Yuriko Koike told reporters on Tuesday.
Her statement puts pressure on Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga, who must agree to the state of emergency. He has previously said he wants to avoid the new emergency, which could mean the closure of supermarkets and the closing of entertainment venues such as karaoke bars again. Now he is expected to give notice on Thursday, According to the Japan Times.
Except for the virus Japan is also struggling with a faltering economy and has less stringent restrictions during the pandemic than many other countries. Admittedly, the state of emergency has been declared twice before. But in general, people were able to continue using public transportation, and shops and restaurants remained open, although they sometimes had to close early.
However, Japan performed relatively well. The death toll from COVID-19, 9,650, is relatively small compared to 126 million. In the United Kingdom, which has a population of half that, for example, more than 100,000 have died.
But recent developments give cause for concern. In Tokyo, the number of daily infections in the past two weeks was 70 percent higher than in the previous two months. There is also concern that more and more infected people are carrying new types of the virus, which spread more easily and are more deadly. In Osaka, a shortage of hospital beds has been reported.
Meanwhile, the vaccination campaign in Japan is slow. Receiving the vaccination did not start until this month, then it was a question of residents over the age of 65. So far, 2 million Japanese out of 126 million have received vaccinations and a complete vaccination of the population before the Olympics is absolutely unbelievable.
Is it possible then to hold the Olympic Games During a pandemic? An event that attracts more than 60,000 athletes, coaches, media and team leaders from 200 countries. Additionally, there are volunteers and others in Japan who will make sure the games flow.
Last week, a senior member of the ruling Liberal Democratic Party said the games could still be canceled, if the situation worsened.
– If it seems impossible to implement, we should cancel, “Toshihiro Nikai, LDP Secretary-General said in a TV interview.
But Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga He stressed again and again that the games must be held. According to him, it could be a chance for the world to show the virus has been defeated. Organizers in Tokyo and the International Olympic Committee have followed the same line
But until last year, when the Olympics was postponed, organizers claimed they would go ahead as planned until news arrived.
If the games were to be held, it would be far from the crowd party it usually would be. Onlookers traveling from abroad have been banned and journalists will have limited freedom of movement. Many interviews will be conducted via video link, even if both athletes and journalists are on site. Whether local audiences will be allowed, and in such cases to what extent, has yet to be decided.
If all fans were banned, it would be the first time ever that athletes have been competing for a gold medal with only people on the TV couch cheering them up.
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